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[127] In the Senate only a small number were free from sympathy with the act of violence and indignant at the murder. Most of them sought to aid the murderers in various ways. They proposed first to invite them to be present under a pledge of safety and sit in council with them, thus changing them from criminals to judges. Antony did not oppose this because he knew they would not come; and they did not come. Then, in order to test the feeling of the Senate, some of them extolled the deed openly and without disguise, called the men tyrannicides, and proposed that they should be rewarded. Others were opposed to giving rewards, saying that the men did not want them and had not done the deed for the sake of reward, but thought that they should merely be thanked as public benefactors. Still others were opposed to thanking them and thought that it would be sufficient to grant them impunity. Such were the devices to which they resorted, and were trying to discover which of these courses the Senate would be inclined to accept first, hoping that after a little that body would be more easily led on by them to the other measures. The honester portion revolted at the murder as impious, but out of respect for the great families of the murderers would not oppose the granting of impunity, yet they were indignant at the proposal to honor them as public benefactors. Others argued that if impunity were granted it would not be fitting to refuse the most ample means of safety. When one speaker said that honoring them would be dishonoring Cæsar, it was answered that it was not permissible to prefer the interests of the dead to those of the living. Another having said plainly that one of two things must be decided beforehand -- either that Cæsar was a tyrant or that his murderers were to be pardoned as an act of clemency -- the others [Cæsar's enemies] seized upon this simple proposition and asked that an opportunity be given them of expressing themselves by vote concerning the character of Cæsar, under the solemn pledge that, if they voluntarily should give their unbiased judgment, the penalty of the oath should not befall them for having previously voted Cæsar's decrees under compulsion -- never willingly and never until they were in fear for their own lives, after the killing of Pompey and of numberless others besides Pompey.

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